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BABY BOK coach Dawie Theron will have to revise his game plan drastically in an effort to save his team the embarrassment of failing to qualify for the play-off stages in this year’s IRB Junior World Champs.
Following Monday night’s dismal 19-23 defeat against an Irish outfit the Boks had under-estimated, Theron should’ve realised that his “physical” approach can no longer be the only ingredient of a match-winning recipe, and granting players a degree of freedom would be key to unlocking an attacking option that could put his side’s wobbling campaign back on track.
A one-dimensional and overly structured game plan, compounded by a complacent approach to the Ireland match, contributed to their loss on Monday as the junior Springboks failed to “show up” despite Theron boasting about his side setting a standard in this year’s competition.
“We were forced to take chances, something we didn’t want to do,” said Theron. “It was as if we were too careful in the end. We had a plan for this match, but perhaps we did not execute it well.”
Take nothing away from the Irish, who seemed to be fuelled by last year’s 57-15 defeat to the Baby Boks.
“You’ve got to give credit to the Irish. They played better on the night and deserved the victory,” he added.
Ireland dominated every facet of the game and it was evident that Theron’s predictable approach would fall prey to Ireland’s game plan.
From the get-go, Theron’s charges were simply outmuscled, placed in a tactical noose that they couldn’t escape as the Irish pinned the Baby Boks on the wrong end of the field.
Embarrassed SA skipper Wian Liebenberg admitted that the match was a “frustrating” experience.
“We didn’t want to play catch-up rugby, but they played well by putting pressure on us,” he said. “They made us play in our half and that was not what we wanted to do.”
The Baby Boks collected one bonus point following Monday’s performance which leaves them lying second from bottom in Pool B, with England taking top spot after thumping Italy 64-5.
Theron’s charges now have no choice but to beat bottom feeders Italy and table-topping England comprehensively if they hope to give themselves a chance of progressing any further.